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1159141 2999-04-26 00:00:00.0 UTC 2999-04-25T20:00:00.000-04:00 2011-03-23 18:39:49.0 UTC 2011-03-23T14:39:49.000-04:00 tampa-bay-rays-jake-mcgee-stronger-following-tommy-john-surgery Published 2011-03-24 02:49:51.0 UTC 2011-03-23T22:49:51.000-04:00 sports/baseball/rays DTI 73818753 PORT CHARLOTTE — The first time Mark McGee tried to catch his son Jake's pitches, he literally felt something special. McGee, 24, the Rays' hard-throwing left-hander, was then an 18-year-old senior at Reed High in Nevada. The two would go to the school's parking lot with a bucket of balls, many of which would end up scuffed from the asphalt — or Mark's shinguards. McGee didn't have the explosive, mid to high 90s fastball he boasts now that, combined with an improved slider and even temperament, has the Rays feeling he has the stuff to be a late-inning, impact reliever. But a pitch to dad did the trick. "(The ball) smacked my ring into my finger," Mark says. "I was like, 'I guess I won't be wearing my ring anymore when we play.' But it was funny." McGee grew up in Sparks, Nev., which borders Reno's casinos and nightlife. His mother, Becky Hummel, is manager of Great Basin Brewing Company, home of the popular Ichthyosaur Indian Pale Ale, named after the state fossil and affectionately called "Icky." But to McGee, baseball was his life. Nevada has produced 22 big-leaguers, and he had a one-track mind in becoming another. He got hooked up with local pitching coach and Angels scout Dennis Banks, who tutored him for several years, helping him become the Rays' fifth-round pick in 2004. McGee said he didn't play any other sports, other than racquetball with his father, because he didn't want to risk getting hurt. It's the same reason he doesn't join his wife, Morgan, snowboarding. Despite the precautions, baseball dealt McGee a career-changing injury. In February 2008, McGee entered his first big-league camp with good buddy Wade Davis and with dreams of joining him in the next wave of the rotation. But three months later, in a start for Double-A Montgomery, McGee tore is ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. He would soon have season-ending Tommy John ligament replacement surgery, putting him on a lengthy road to recovery. "It was pretty devastating," Mark said. McGee knew most pitchers came back from the surgery, but not all. While McGee was rehabbing, Davis joined the Rays rotation, becoming a candidate for rookie of the year. The experience changed McGee's mentality and his work ethic and made him stronger. "It kind of opened my eyes to different things," he said. "A huge perspective change." When McGee finally felt like himself again, in the middle of last year, he opened some eyes. In a September callup, McGee had a rocky debut but followed with seven consecutive scoreless outings, showing impressive calm during the pennant race. "I think he's a lot more relaxed, he's competitive and has great stuff," Davis said. "There's no reason why he can't be one of the best in the league." While veteran right-handers Kyle Farnsworth and Joel Peralta will get their chance to grab the closer's role the first two months of the season, McGee would eventually love the opportunity. Maddon believes McGee has the makeup and stuff to evolve into that role, though he doesn't want to rush him. Maddon wants him to work on his slider and get more experience, with the outside chance McGee starts the season in Triple A. "I'd rather make him into King Kong first and then turn him loose, as opposed to hope that he becomes King Kong," Maddon said. Along the way, Mark has continued to catch him in the offseason. He still sits on the bucket and wears shin guards. But it's a lot easier. "I just put the glove there and he pretty much hits it," Mark said. "But I've definitely gotten some bruises on my shins from over the years." Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@sptimes.com. By Joe Smith, Times Staff Writer Baseball,Rays,Sports Tampa Bay Rays' Jake McGee stronger following Tommy John surgery JOESMITHN Jake McGee's passion for baseball is even stronger after surgery. 4STC Main Setback fuels drive 4 sp_rays032411 Setback fuels drive 2011-03-24 04:00:00.0 UTC 2011-03-24T00:00:00.000-04:00 Rookie relief pitcher Jake McGee, who made a strong impression in a September callup last season, is in camp with a chance to make the opening-day roster for the first time. resources/images/dti/2011/03/c4s_rays032411_167820a.jpg EDMUND D. FOUNTAIN | Times resources/images/dti/rendered/2011/03/c4s_rays032411_167820a_4col.jpgresources/images/dti/rendered/2011/03/c4s_rays032411_167820a_8col.jpg true templatedata/tampabaytimes/StaffArticle/data/2011/03/23/73818753-tampa-bay-rays-jake-mcgee-stronger-following-tommy-john-surgery StaffArticle sports,baseballBaseballsports,baseball,raysTampa Bay RaysPORT CHARLOTTE — The first time Mark McGee tried to catch his son Jake's pitches, he literally felt something special.Baseball,Rays,SportsBaseball,Rays,SportsJoe Smith 380299 2038-01-18 05:00:00.0 UTC 2038-01-18T00:00:00.000-05:00 2012-10-25 12:35:33.0 UTC 2012-10-25T08:35:33.000-04:00 joe-smith published Joe Smith <p>Joe Smith became the Tampa Bay Lightning beat writer for the <i>Tampa Bay</i> <i>Times</i><i> </i>in 2014. He spent the previous six years splitting time covering the Rays, Bucs and Lightning He joined the <i>Times</i> in 2006 after spending two years with the<i> Modesto Bee</i> in California, where he did everything from covering the Single-A Modesto Nuts minor league baseball team and high school football to tackling first-person stories on whitewater rafting and adventure racing. Smith grew up in the Detroit suburbs and attended the University of Michigan, where he covered the football, basketball and hockey teams for the<i> Michigan Daily</i>. He freelanced for the Associated Press and <i>Detroit Free Press</i> before securing internships at <i>Crain's Detroit Business</i> and the <i>Raleigh News </i><i>& Observer</i>. An avid runner, Smith loves traveling, bowling and singing karaoke.</p> Times Staff Writer writers DTI 33745475 Joe Smith became the Tampa Bay Lightning beat writer for the Tampa Bay Times in 2014. He spent the previous six years splitting time covering the Rays, Bucs and Lightning He joined the Times in 2006 after spending two years with the Modesto Bee in California, where he did everything from covering the Single-A Modesto Nuts minor league baseball team and high school football to tackling first-person stories on whitewater rafting and adventure racing. Smith grew up in the Detroit suburbs and attended the University of Michigan, where he covered the football, basketball and hockey teams for the Michigan Daily. He freelanced for the Associated Press and Detroit Free Press before securing internships at Crain's Detroit Business and the Raleigh News & Observer. An avid runner, Smith loves traveling, bowling and singing karaoke. <p>Phone: (813) 310 9024</p><p>Email: <a href="mailto:joesmith@tampabay.com ">joesmith@tampabay.com</a> </p><p>Blogs: </p><p><a href="http://tampabay.com/blogs/lightning/">Lightning Strikes</a></p> 1 (St. Petersburg 4/4/2007)&#10;Facebook picture of Joe Smith.&#10;(John Pendygraft | TIMES) /resources/images/dti/2012/10/Smith_Joe_wp.jpg true templatedata/tampabaytimes/AuthorProfile/data/33745475-joe-smith AuthorProfile 2012-10-25 12:35:33.0 UTC 2012-10-25T08:35:33.000-04:00 <span style="display:none;" class="author vcard"><span class="fn">JOE SMITH</span></span><span style="display:none;" class="source-org vcard"><span class="org fn">Tampa Bay Times</span></span><a rel="item-license" href="/universal/user_agreement.shtml">&#169; 2016 Tampa Bay Times</a><br /><br />Times Staff Writer 2281490 2016-06-13 16:39:19.0 UTC 2 Months Ago rays-jake-odorizzi-hopes-to-pitch-deeper-into-game sports/baseball/rays Rays' Jake Odorizzi hopes to pitch deeper into game StaffArticle 2284629 2016-07-08 16:47:10.0 UTC 2 Months Ago most-influential-women-in-tampa-bay-sports-melanie-lenz-tampa-bay-rays sports/baseball/rays Most influential women in Tampa Bay sports: Melanie Lenz, Tampa Bay Rays StaffArticle 2284636 2016-07-08 18:47:20.0 UTC 2 Months Ago most-influential-women-in-tampa-bay-sports-sandy-dengler-tampa-bay-rays sports/baseball/rays Most influential women in Tampa Bay sports: Sandy Dengler, Tampa Bay Rays StaffArticle <p>PORT CHARLOTTE — The first time Mark McGee tried to catch his son Jake's pitches, he literally felt something special.</p> <p>McGee, 24, the Rays' hard-throwing left-hander, was then an 18-year-old senior at Reed High in Nevada. The two would go to the school's parking lot with a bucket of balls, many of which would end up scuffed from the asphalt — or Mark's shinguards. McGee didn't have the explosive, mid to high 90s fastball he boasts now that, combined with an improved slider and even temperament, has the Rays feeling he has the stuff to be a late-inning, impact reliever.</p> <p>But a pitch to dad did the trick.</p> <p>&quot;(The ball) smacked my ring into my finger,&quot; Mark says. &quot;I was like, 'I guess I won't be wearing my ring anymore when we play.' But it was funny.&quot;</p> <p>McGee grew up in Sparks, Nev., which borders Reno's casinos and nightlife. His mother, Becky Hummel, is manager of Great Basin Brewing Company, home of the popular Ichthyosaur Indian Pale Ale, named after the state fossil and affectionately called &quot;Icky.&quot;</p> <p>But to McGee, baseball was his life. Nevada has produced 22 big-leaguers, and he had a one-track mind in becoming another. He got hooked up with local pitching coach and Angels scout Dennis Banks, who tutored him for several years, helping him become the Rays' fifth-round pick in 2004.</p> <p>McGee said he didn't play any other sports, other than racquetball with his father, because he didn't want to risk getting hurt. It's the same reason he doesn't join his wife, Morgan, snowboarding.</p> <p>Despite the precautions, baseball dealt McGee a career-changing injury. In February 2008, McGee entered his first big-league camp with good buddy Wade Davis and with dreams of joining him in the next wave of the rotation.</p> <p>But three months later, in a start for Double-A Montgomery, McGee tore is ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. He would soon have season-ending Tommy John ligament replacement surgery, putting him on a lengthy road to recovery.</p> <p>&quot;It was pretty devastating,&quot; Mark said. </p> <p>McGee knew most pitchers came back from the surgery, but not all. While McGee was rehabbing, Davis joined the Rays rotation, becoming a candidate for rookie of the year.</p> <p>The experience changed McGee's mentality and his work ethic and made him stronger. &quot;It kind of opened my eyes to different things,&quot; he said. &quot;A huge perspective change.&quot;</p> <p>When McGee finally felt like himself again, in the middle of last year, he opened some eyes. In a September callup, McGee had a rocky debut but followed with seven consecutive scoreless outings, showing impressive calm during the pennant race.</p> <p>&quot;I think he's a lot more relaxed, he's competitive and has great stuff,&quot; Davis said. &quot;There's no reason why he can't be one of the best in the league.&quot;</p> <p>While veteran right-handers Kyle Farnsworth and Joel Peralta will get their chance to grab the closer's role the first two months of the season, McGee would eventually love the opportunity.</p> <p>Maddon believes McGee has the makeup and stuff to evolve into that role, though he doesn't want to rush him. Maddon wants him to work on his slider and get more experience, with the outside chance McGee starts the season in Triple A.</p> <p>&quot;I'd rather make him into King Kong first and then turn him loose, as opposed to hope that he becomes King Kong,&quot; Maddon said. </p> <p>Along the way, Mark has continued to catch him in the offseason. He still sits on the bucket and wears shin guards. But it's a lot easier.</p> <p>&quot;I just put the glove there and he pretty much hits it,&quot; Mark said. &quot;But I've definitely gotten some bruises on my shins from over the years.&quot;</p> <p><i>Joe Smith can be reached at </i><i>joesmith@sptimes.com.</i></p>trueruntime2016-08-30 06:02:01